When you love and care for your pet, you’ll likely form an unbreakable bond. Some people may remark that your pet acts like you. New research indicates that for cat and dog owners, this may be the case. You and your pet may be much more in sync than you initially thought!
Owners Can Impact Their Cat’s Personality
Recently, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Lincoln conducted a study in which they interviewed 3,000 cat owners in the United Kingdom. The study analyzed the owner’s personalities on the neuroticism scale. Individuals who scored higher on this test are known to be significantly more emotionally reactive. The survey then asked owners to evaluate three primary categories about their cat’s personality:
Researchers then compared the results of the study to previous research regarding parent-child relationships. Researchers found strong similarities between the two, allowing them to conclude that owners pass traits to their cats. They found that cat owners who scored high on the neuroticism scale were more likely to report that their cat:
- Displayed aggressive behavior
- Was more anxious or fearful
- Exhibited stress-related behavioral symptoms
- Suffered from chronic medical conditions
- Was overweight
Dr. Lauren Finka, a researcher on the study, remarked, “Many owners consider their pets as a family member, forming close social bonds with them. It’s therefore very possible that pets could be affected by the way we interact with and manage them, and that both these factors are in turn influenced by our personality differences.”
The Same Is True For Dog Owners
It’s not just cat owners who pass personality traits to their pets. The same is true for dog owners, according to Austrian research. This research also went a step further to say that dogs can impact their human’s personalities, potentially allowing them to cope with stress. To conduct this test, researchers put both dogs and their owners through a variety of tests, including:
- Heart rate measurements
- Measurements of cortisol levels in saliva
- Responses to threats
According to Dr. Iris Schoberl of the University of Vienna, humans had more impact on their dog’s personality, although the results worked both ways. Schoberl said, “Our results nicely fit to experience from practice: owners and dogs are social dyads (a group of two), and they influence each other’s stress coping.”
Does This Ring True For Your Pet?
If you have a pet, think about whether its personality is a reflection of yours. Start by self-reflecting about your character. Would you describe yourself as happy or sad? Positive or negative? If you need help, try asking your friends and family for support. Consider having them write down the five words that they would use to describe you best.
Then, think about the typical interactions you have with your pet. Have your friends and family recall some of their favorite memories of your pet. Do these stories fit your personality? If so, you may have passed some of your character traits onto your pet!
The research proves to be an excellent example of the bond we share with our pets. Too often, we hear horror stories about people who bring pets into their home and treat them as an animal instead of a member of the family.
Your pet very much has a personality, emotions, and feelings, just like we do. It’s critical that you treat them with love, care, and respect. As John Bradshaw once said, dogs “find it difficult to cope without us. Since we humans programmed this vulnerability, it’s our responsibility to ensure that our dogs do not suffer as a result.” As the above research concludes, perhaps this is truer than we once believed!